11 thought-provoking quotes from Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Adichie

It feels that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and actually focus on anything blog related in a lifetime.

I’ve missed this feeling. And I only have my annoying iPhone to thank, there’s always a problem with it. Luckily I have my upgrade to look forward to next month, so I may move on to something else, but probably not as I’m a sucker for punishment.

Anyway, I digress. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Southbank Centre for their annual Women of the World Festival (check it out) where one of my all time favourite authors – Chimamanda Adichie – hosted a talk all about feminism.

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First of all, I have to thank Stylist magazine, as I had no idea that this festival even existed until it was printed in their magazine. As soon as I saw that the talented and sometimes controversial Chimamanda was talking there, I booked my tickets immediately as I’ve literally dreamt of having the chance to sit down and quiz her about her books, since I finished Half of a Yellow Sun, and although this was hardly a one on one, the chance to see her in real life was good enough for me lol.

Ever since reading a few of her books, I have been a die-hard fan of Chimamanda, I mean she’s even featured on Beyonce’s tune – if you haven’t heard of her, what have you been doing?!

Two weeks ago she released a short essay called; Dear Ijeawele or a feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestionscheck my insta – in response to a friend who asked her how to raise a feminist daughter, which she also discussed in depth on stage and let me tell you the whole experience was life!

I’ve never really liked labelling myself as a feminist, as I feel it has soooo many negative connotations, and in my opinion, you either agree with the equality between men and women or you don’t, but Chimamanda discussed many great points, during her talk and in her book, that after listening and reading I proudly say ‘I’m a feminist’.

She shares so many suggestions, some of which really did have me chuckle, so I thought   I’d share my favourite quotes with you, although I do recommend that you read for yourself as it’s such a quick, humorous and thought-provoking read:

  • Be a full person
  • Never apologise for working. You love what you do, and loving what you do can be a great gift.
  • ‘Because you’re a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever.
  • The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.
  • Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not.
  • Reject likeability.
  • We have a world full of women who are unable to exhale fully because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likeable.
  • Never treat marriage as an achievement.
  • Kindness matters… but teach her that her kindness should never be taken for granted.
  • To love is not only to give but to take.
  • If you criticise X in women but do not criticise X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women

There are so many quick-fire quotes from this book, that I’ll always have in mind, especially in the fight of feminism. Have you pocketed any quotes from this book?

Do you label yourself a a feminist? Have you ever read any of Chimamanda’s other books, if so, which is your favourite?

 

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5 Reasons Why I HATE Twitter Chats

After reaching my one year milestone on this blog a couple of weeks ago, I stupidly promised myself to join at least 2 twitter chats a week.

Let’s just all laugh together 😂

My advances to become a somewhat ‘better blogger’ wasn’t actually unachievable, but I’ve come to the realisation that I actually hate twitter chats (well, most of them anyway).

When I first started blogging Twitter chats were the bomb.com!

I would e-meet other bloggers, interact and find new blogs, as well as discover blogging events which definitely helped me network and ultimately turn my blog into what it is today, BUT, after being back on the twitter chats for just over a week, I’ve realised that my goal to join 2 twitter chats a week may have been a bit of a reach.

Let me tell you why…

  1. No shade, but there’s only so many times a year, never mind a week, where I can discuss my favourite disney movie. I get it, we all love disney and it’s a great past-time to re-live our awesome 90’s childhood, but I’m a grown ass 20 something year old woman who’s got shit going on. Let’s get real.
  2. The choice of topics is an issue. Blogging is so diverse – from the people to the subjects. I mean people blog about any and everything, so why do we always end up discussing the same topics and throwing around the same answers and buzz words? It’s like we know what others want to hear, what makes us sound good and what sounds a the right level of controversial. Let’s get real.
  3. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t been an active part of the twitter chat community for ages, but is it me or is everyone besties? Everyone has something witty to say, a sure-fire comeback. I can’t lie, it makes the chats fun and very interactive, but it just makes me wonder is it all real? Are you really as animated as that sassy GIF you just tweeted or are you sitting in bed with a straight face, going back and forth, just like me? Plus, we have the whole follow/unfollow debacle which just grinds my gears. Let’s get real.
  4. Everything moves so bloody quickly. I know, I know. I feel as though my inner-granny is taking over. Even as I type this I’m imagining an older version of myself walking across the TL with my zimmerframe, but I would love if Twitter slowed down, even by a milli-second. Like, I’m sure I’m the only person who answers a question forgetting to use the chat hashtag? 😪
  5. I never have enough time to dedicate a whole blessed hour to a twitter chat.

Don’t get me wrong guys, I do enjoy a few chats and I get that Twitter chats take a lot to run and host every week, but for me a lot of it is cliche, so… I’m revoking my earlier promise and will only be joining chats when I’m genuinely interested in, and not just because I said I would 😝.

We’re probably all as guilty as each other when it comes to these points (or nah), but maybe it’s time for a change?!

What chats do you enjoy joining and why, do you have any pet peeves when it comes to Twitter chats?

 

OOTD: Confidence

Hey ya’ll,

Today I’m switching it up.

After recently retweeting a thread that really struck a chord with me, I’ve been dwelling on whether to write more posts on subjects that affect me.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-21-39-42I was so scared of sharing this thread (pictured above) on my twitter timeline. In fact, I toyed back and forth about whether I should retweet for my followers to see. I didn’t want any of my followers who I actively interact with to feel uncomfortable, but at the same time I just couldn’t stay silent. Twitter is my platform to share whatever I like, and although, I didn’t like this post, I could relate with subject matter.

Most of my posts are about what I do on the weekend, the places I travel and what-not which is great because I genuinely enjoy sharing those aspects of my life, but most of the time my head is swirling with a gazillion things that affect me on a daily basis, and one of those ‘things’ is how I choose wear my confidence as a black woman.

And I use the word ‘choose’ because every way in which I am confident is not always accepted in the society I live in.

Being a black woman living in London is something that I treasure and love about myself. In my home, in front of my friends and family I am Rianne without any limitations, however, in society being black acts as anchor that doesn’t allow me to fully be myself without stereotypes and tags being attached to me and everything I do.

Angry, loud, passive aggressive, ratchet instead of their positive alternatives like passionate, confident, intelligent and honest are labels that get thrown around at black women on a daily basis. A few of these words have even been hurled at me and used to put me down which  of course, over the years have had a detrimental affect on my confidence and means I have to always be socially and consciously aware in situations I’m in.

So, here’s a few ways I choose to wear my confidence, when the world tells me I can’t…

Posture
It’s proven that posture has a direct reflection of how you feel and are perceived. Standing with a straight back and head held high makes all the difference to how I feel. For me it’s totally natural for me to recoil into my posture if I’m not feeling great, or if there’s something society deems as not being something I should be proud or confident about. Whenever I catch myself doing this, I remember to readjust my position to show –  I have a purpose and I am meant to be here.

Hair
If you didn’t know I have dreadlocks, take a look at my posts about it here & here. Although this hair journey is becoming a lot more mainstream as a natural, protective hairstyle for black women, it’s not always understood and still very much not an ‘approved’ hairstyle in many workplaces, but I love how I wear my hair as a way to display my heritage and culture. My hair is very versatile, sometimes, I have it in styles, sometimes I have it out, but I love that it can be a conversation starter, where I can educate anyone who wants to know more.

Attitude
Stereotypically black women can be seen as intimidating and unapproachable. Confidence isn’t just about the exterior and how you appear to seem, but it starts from within. At first glance people may have a pre conceived idea about me I’ve been told I have RBF (resting bitch face), but I actively agree in quote: If you have good thoughts (and a positive attitude) they will shine out of your face…

Inner Thoughts
Occasionally, I recite quotes in my head that reaffirm and boost positivity.

Public Speaking
When I refer to this point I don’t necessarily mean in front of a big crowd. Speaking up in certain situations takes courage and therefore confidence, and the older I get I find myself doing this more and more. There are many examples where I feel I have to do this to set the record straight or give the black perspective and to even break stereotypes by someone who is reinforcing them. (the thing about stereotypes is that  they’re not necessarily untrue, but they don’t tell the full story).

One instance where I had to speak out was when someone voiced that they think Blue Ivy is an ugly baby, that she looks nothing like Beyonce and that North West is much prettier. This may seem like a minor issue but to say a child is ugly is quite pathetic tbh, but then again everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, I had to question why they thought this.

When quizzed they simply said her hair wasn’t nice because it was too ‘frizzy’ and because her features resembled Jay Z. This is true but I had to highlight the fact those qualities are qualities of her blackness and for that to be used against her is not cool.

Ultimately, it shows that from a young age, confidence is something that can be snatched away, but it is our job to reclaim it and make the ways in which we are confident a force to be reckoned with.

The subject of confidence is so much bigger than this one blog post, and there are many other ways in which confidence can be radiated.  Although I am talking about my experience as a black woman, I want to know how you wear your confidence, no matter where you’re from or your background?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Begins with a Bottomless Brunch

Living Hygge is something we’ve all become obsessed with.

Enjoying life’s simple pleasures may take on different forms to different people, but since taking on the responsibilities of being a proper adult, enjoying going out and exploring has become one of life’s pleasures for me. After all, life shouldn’t begin and end with work.

Bottomless brunch has been on my cards for a while, which is why I sought to find the best bottomless brunch in the city… well one of the best according to Time Out.

Villandry ticked all the boxes for me and after looking at the menu £35 a pop seemed like a great deal, especially as this bottomless brunch features never-ending prosecco!

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Sitting right in the middle of Great Portland Street, Villandry stood out in all it’s glory, it was so pretty.

I was greeted by very welcoming staff and sat my pretty table for two waiting for my Mr to arrive.

Considering they seemed to have very strict booking rules, the staff were very understanding as we were about an hour late (the booking supposedly lasts 2 hours, but I think they don’t mind how long you stay depending on how busy it is), but they assured me that time only starts from when the first prosecco is poured – result!

Once bae and I were both seated, we scanned the menu and ordered food pronto – by this point it was about 12:30 and we were both starving.

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I opted for poached eggs and avocado on rye bread he and a Full English!

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My boyfriend is not a big drinker but as he didn’t drive and we both caught the tube into central London, he let loose and had like 5 glasses one after the other –  literally never seen him like that.

The staff were really friendly, and kept topping up our glasses, it was a bit insane, especially as it was so early. The only time I’ve ever had ay alcoholic beverage at that time is on holiday.

About 30 minutes after we had eaten we decided it was time to go. Too much prosecco had been downed and we were actually acting like a couple of fools. Plus, we wanted to have a walk around Oxford Street. To be honest I think they were surprised we were leaving so early.

All in all I would rate Villandry an 8/10. The mood and atmosphere was spot on, the waiter ensured neither of our glasses were even half empty, but I have to say the food let the experience down – as it looked lovely but it was just OK – I would say The Breakfast Club is better quality. I also noticed that a few groups who came in after us, were served before us, which I feel is plain rude.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a nice picturesque spot in London to hang and have a good time with the girls this is the place, but if you’re looking to chow down on a nice brunch with prosecco being very much an after-thought, this place isn’t for you.

I would love to try another Bottomless Brunch just to have something to compare Villandry to…Have you been to any nice spots for brunch?

 

Kew Gardens Orchid Lates: Valentine’s Day Done Differently

Happy Valentine’s Day lovies!

Today people around the globe celebrate love *hubba hubba* and as I love, LOVE, I thought I’d share a cool Valentine’s date night idea that you can enjoy tonight with your bae or your gal pals, if your owning single life.

I’ve lived in London all my life and I’m still finding new things to do and places to explore.

Kew Gardens has been on my list of things to since forever, which is why my boyfriend and I visited as a pre-valentines date.

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As of late finding a date-night destination which doesn’t consist of food, drinks and a film has been a complete myth, which is why we opted for a date night with a difference.

Think culture, arts and a botanical garden, and the obvious choice for us was taking a visit down to Kew Gardens latest botanical installation – Orchid Lates.

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We joined Kew after dark for an intimate night viewing of tropical flower displays inspired by the vibrant, colourful plant life of India.

Set in the Princess of Wales conservatory they had pop up food and drink options also inspired by Indian culture as well as a stalls which included Henna and drawing.

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For me this date night was everything and I’m not exactly the most in touch with nature. But, having the chance to stroll around a haven of flowers and plants, my boyfriend and I were left to our own devices, bantering, laughing and enjoying the scenery – it really just took us back to the basics – we talked about everything and nothing, and of course posed with ALL of the flowers.

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So, if you’re still on the hunt for something to do today or any other day throughout this month of lurrv, miss the hustle and bustle of touristy attractions and consider Orchid Lates, it’s on until the 2nd March – trust me you’ll love it.

Enjoy today and let me know what you’re up to today, I’d love to know x 

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One Year On…

Today riannemitchell.com turns one!

And I feel it’s only right to dedicate a whole post to my blogging journey.

Since I was quite young I always wanted to have a successful blog. I’ve always loved writing, and enjoy sharing my experiences, however, it wasn’t until this day last year that I plucked up the courage to actually make this blog a reality.

It’s still surreal to me that people read my blog (like I actually have real like subscribers-eeek). People who tweet me, like my sh*t and follow me on multiple social platforms. Although I’ve hit many milestones, a year on and I’m feeling a mixture of emotions about being a ‘blogger’. There have been ups and down, great events and PR invitations, as well as the chance to become involved in something big, where I’ve been able to make friends and craft real relationships with fellow bloggers as well as companies.

But, I can’t lie, it’s been hard. Hard to balance life, working full time as well as creating content to blog about. Hard to choose what events to attend, because who wants to take Annual Leave for an event that’s totally cool but will have no relevance on my blog and last but not least, majorly hard to keep up with ever-rolling timelines of social media – because who cares about what was tweeted 10 minutes ago.

But, in some of life’s crisis’ there’s always a silver lining and one thing that I read very recently taught me that if I want an interest or hobby of mine to succeed, I need to work at it full time and put in the same amount of time and effort I put in at my 9-5 – which really put things into perspective.

So with that in mind, I’ve listed a few goals that I’d love to achieve and look back in a years time and say check! (and sometimes that means going back to basics)…

Goals

  • To grow my blog presence – I still can’t believe people actually read and comment on my blog, but I wana go global baby! (maybe not global but definitely bigger and better)
  • Post 2 times a week
  • To join at least 2 twitter chats a week – I mean who doesn’t love a good twitter natter
  • To grow a travel & lifestyle blog that people actually go to for date night ideas, travel destinations etc.  – I love finding new destinations from publication like Time Out so why not gain a real review from moi
  • To comment on blogs that I love reading – This is the hardest thing for me as i’m always reading something, so I feel it’s only right to show appreciation if I enjoyed the read.

One year on, and for the first time I’m feeling confident about my vision for this blog, so as I switch things up a bit, I hope you all stick around for the journey.

See you on my next post x

Blogmas: Meet-Up with the Girls!

For me the festive period has always been a time for indulging in food, spending time with family and celebrating with friends.

So when the ‘Blogging Queens’ (yes that is the name of our Whatsapp chat lol) finally organised a meet up that has been in the works  for nearly a whole year I was totally up for it!

After going back and forth with how to spend out first official meet-up we decided to hit up Winter Wonderland – is there anything more Christmassy?!

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Like any day out it ended up with food, and my girl Shannon Kara found us a beautiful, spot for us to chill, chat, and eat at a place called Black & Blue on Mortimer Street.

Hit this place up if you love freshly grilled prawns or a juicy steak, fruity cocktails and picturesque settings.

Peep the pictures to see the amazing food and don’t forget to check out my fellow blogging gals:

Shannon Kara
Yves Child
Laura Living Life
Natalie Onoita

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How have you been spending your time in the run up to Christmas? x

Blogmas: Office Christmas Party Etiquette

Whether you’re rearing up for your office Christmas party, or one of those people who just want to get it done and dusted, because lets face it, who wants to spend more time with colleagues you can’t stand,  there’s no denying that there are rules to follow when attending the office Christmas party.
(many of which I did not follow myself this year smh – just picture me dabbing on the dance floor well after midnight 🚫)

I consider myself someone who’s always up for a party, but there have been many a time when I’ve fully embarrassed myself and woken up with flashbacks and mixed emotions thinking – why the hell would I do that?… so I thought this would be a fun way of letting you all in on polite party etiquette to definitely do and major faux pas to avoid.

So before you head out on your office party or get together before the New Year remember these golden rules…

Do pace yourself – I’m the type of person who always says – I’m only staying for one, just to show my face – then 12am strikes and I’m the life of the party. NO NO NO NO NO! Just because there’s a free tab at the bar, doesn’t mean you have to drink away. So pace yourself, look classy and elegant and have fun! No wants to see you stumble home it’s just not a good look.

Don’t wear anything too daring – Everyone wants to look good and show how different and  glamourous they can look outside of office hours, but it doesn’t mean you have to show Kevin from IT what you’ve had for brekkie, lunch and dinner. Have in mind office party not your besties birthday bash.

Do socialise with other departments. What I love about Office Christmas parties is that it gives you the chance to socialise and interact with other departments. Plus, if you’re new to the team like I am, it’s a great opportunity to make some new friends.

Don’t be afraid to have a good time. It’s is actually OK to have fun, that’s the point of a shindig right?! It’s a great chance to see people out of action, relaxed and at an event where everyone genuinely wants to have fun. So be yourself and let your personality shine!

Don’t get drunk. Leading back to my first point – pace yourself. If your workplace has been clever and  decided to host your Christmas party mid-week, you really have to watch how much you’re consuming, take advantage of the free bar if you have one, but just remember you can’t pull a sickie…because EVERYONE knows that old chestnut lol

Don’t get handsy. We’ve all had a lil’ office crush. But before you decide to pounce at the ‘perfect’ moment, make sure it’s mutual and don’t get too handsy with them either. reporting to the HR office is like sitting on the naughty step, not cool and highly embarrassing.

Do & Don’t Avoid the ‘Big Dawgs’. This is a controversial one. But, I think it depends on your personality. It’s great to know your more senior counterparts, and it could even help your career progression, however, the office Christmas party is not the place to discuss a how Shauna pissed you off today or that you’d appreciate a pay rise lol. Just remember they’ll remember what you say and how you say it well after the nights over.

Hope this put a smile on your face. Do you have any top tips to share on how to survive your workplace Christmas party? Let me know in the comments x

 

 

Blogmas: Festive Fun at Swingers

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘Swingers’? 👀 😜

Well just keep reading…

Last week I took my boyfriend on a lil adventure through London for his birthday. On our travels we saw the awesome Christmas on Oxford street, the hustle and bustle of people getting their gifts and even went ice skating at Somerset House. However, our destination was right next to the Gherkin building.

Discreet and tucked away, neon lights directed us to Swingers –  the crazy golf club.

I had heard so much about this place, I knew I needed to sort out a birthday surprise for my boyfriend here, even though we’ve both never played crazy golf.

As usual we were running late so when we arrived we were directed straight downstairs (peep their wall of ‘fame’ lol), put our coats in the free cloakroom (very nice touch) then we were shown to our crazy golf guide, who assured us it’s not actually that crazy – who would’ve thought!

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Let me just say, downstairs was amazing. I don’t know how they made such an intricate course all of which is underground…

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After picking the right size golf club we set off on the Windmill course. We had nine holes to get through, but bearing in mind we’ve never played before, our guide clarified the rules.

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Each hole has a number next to it which is the recommended amount of tries you should use to get the golf ball in the hole. However, whatever number of tries you take on each hole, you write on the scorecard, unless it’s over 6 tries. So for example if you try 17 times on a hole that recommends only 3 (yes that did happen) you only count 6. Hope that makes sense …

Anywho… once we had that clarified all the technicalities, we started around the course. It was seriously so fun, and what made it that lil bit better is the guides came around to bring and take orders for cocktails – because what makes crazy golf crazier? – Alcohol!🍸

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After whooping my boyfriends ass, we set off for some more drinks and food inside the venue, the cocktails were exceptional as there was a nice choice of unusual flavours, while there were a few pop up vans and a communal seating area which allowed you to discover a plethora of street type food.

Overall, my boyfriend loved the surprise and as we are both quite competitive it was a great way to enjoy an evening together doing something very different.

So, if you’re like me and all about giving people surprising experiences then this would be a great Christmas gift for someone who loves to have fun, book this, I promise they’ll love it, we’ve decided we’d definitely go back!

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Happy Blogmas x

Girls Night Out: The Night Jar

Can you tell I’m loving life right now?

I recently started a new job, and the girls in my office decided to welcome me into the team by taking me out on the town – lets call it an initiation – on a Thursday night too, bearing in mind I’m normally in bed by 9 latest, I felt like such a rebel!

They decided on a place called Night Jar on Old Street, which I had heard of before from my boyfriend, but never really thought to explore as it wasn’t somewhere I felt I’d enjoy, as its a jazz bar, but I went with an open mind.

Now, if you like to explore London like me and often venture down to Old Street and Shoreditch sides of London, then you’ve probably passed a little door situated in between an off license and a cafe – otherwise known as the portal to Night Jar.

The door is so inconspicuous, I’ve never noticed it before and to be honest I doubt anyone would.

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However, once I passed through the threshold it was like being transported back into the 1920’s.

As soon as we entered, the smell of the city air was gone, and the warmth from the world below as well as the sweet cocktails welcomed us.

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After getting down the steepest set of stairs and into the basement, we were shown to our seats, by a lovely waitress who reminded me of Kat Von D -she had the most awesome tatts. Planted in the cosiest of corners on old cushioned wooden chairs we were given a cute humorous menu with beautifully and enticing themed drinks ordered according to; pre-prohibition, prohibition, post-war and Night Jar signatures… so plenty of choice!

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I literally had no idea what to pick. I hate strong drinks and often opt for more fruity options. In the end I chose an interesting concoction of:Havana Club 7 Year, Falernum, Fresh Pineapple Cocnut Blossom Nectar, Grilled Rice Powder, Roasted Feijoa, Fresh Lime, Banana Bread Beer, Peanut Butter Ice (yes peanut butter ice!) – otherwise known as LEI LANI VOLCANO.

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What I loved was our waitress was very thorough and informative, after each of our drinks were chosen she made sure it would be something we enjoyed and even went as far to describe how we’d experience the taste, just incase we wanted to change our mind.

We had a direct view of the bar, so it was great seeing the bar staff, making each drink to perfection – even for the other tables – it was so interesting to see how much thought and precision goes into each drink, it truly is an art.

Once our amazing drinks arrived we all got to sipping. They just looked so lush, pictures really don’t do them justice!

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I am such a lightweight that I couldn’t even finish my cocktail, but it tasted amazing and had an interesting nutty after taste which was so unique.

From this moment it was the beginning of the end form me as I was ready to go home lol, but the girls wouldn’t allow it, after all, Thursday is the new Friday right?! So we decided on a sharing cocktail (they said it’s for 4 people, but the portions are very generous so they could have done for about 12!)

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As we all had slightly different tastes, a drink called the Green Dragon, seemed a perfect fit. Served in a giant wooden pineapple, with ginger liqueur, dragon fruit, strawberry wine and much more, we got to drinking again.

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From what I can remember, it had a very oriental taste and was quite fruity, so it was right up my street. With the live band setting up we stayed and enjoyed a few jazzy tunes, got to know one another (my cheeks have never hurt so much from smiling before), but for me that was it for the drinks – I was thinking how the hell am I going to get up for work tomorrow :/

Feeling merry and slightly glazed over, I left a very happy customer.

For me a good night out consists of good conversation, great company and brilliant, food & drinks and they were all surpassed.

I can confidently say that The Night Jar will definitely be seeing me again.

Drinks are quite pricey (£40 table deposit & we each paid £30 fro our drinks), but as it was a one off treat, it’s a nice retreat for quite evening with close company, carefully mixed drinks that are not watered down, no drunks and cool interactive music – what more could you want?

Have you heard of The Night Jar? Will you booking a table soon?